Board of Education Discusses Bridge Plan, Adopts FY 2010 Budget

February 9, 2009
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, Feb. 9, and, among other actions, adopted a Fiscal Year 2010 Operating Budget of $2.13 billion and reviewed the status of the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation, an alternative to high school assessments that is available to some students for meeting graduation requirements. The Board also approved preliminary presentation plans for two elementary school modernization and addition projects, and determined its positions on some new state legislative proposals.

FY 2010 Operating Budget Adoption
The Board adopted a FY 2010 Operating Budget totaling $2.13 billion, following its completion recently of two public hearings and two worksessions. The adopted budget is $23.7 million more than the budget that Superintendent Jerry D. Weast originally submitted to the Board in December, but is consistent with the updated recommendation that the superintendent sent to the Board after the amount of projected state aid was increased in the Governor’s recently announced budget. “The lean nature of this budget is a clear reflection of the difficult choices that we must make in today’s economic climate” said Patricia O’Neill, vice president of the Board of Education. “But I also believe it’s a responsible budget that demonstrates our strong commitment to protecting initiatives that raise student achievement and to avoiding cuts that are harmful to classroom instruction.” Additional details on the Board’s adopted FY 2010 budget, which was approved in a 5-1 vote, can be found on the on the Montgomery County Public Schools web site.

Implementation of Bridge Plan/High School Assessments
The Board of Education discussed implementation of the state’s High School Assessments and, specifically, the alternative option of the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation, which is available to some students for meeting their graduation requirements. Students in the Class of 2009 are the first to be required to pass all four exams— algebra, biology, English and government—to earn a Maryland diploma. Since 2008, nine changes have been made by the state—including introduction of the alternate Bridge Plan for Academic Validation and a the recent creation of waiver/appeal option for certain seniors in special circumstances. As of mid-January, 1,399 MCPS students—including 557 seniors—were eligible to complete almost 3,000 Bridge Plan projects. Board Member Christopher Barclay said, “We have always been in favor of accountability, but we have real concerns with the current form of the HSAs and the Bridge Plan. They create unnecessary pressure on our students and have a disproportionate administrative burden on our school system given our diversity of student needs.”

Approval of Preliminary Presentation Plans for Two School Projects
The Board approved the preliminary plans for the Seven Locks Elementary School modernization project and the Jackson Road Elementary School addition project.

Positions on State Legislation
The Board adopted positions on proposed state legislation in the areas of construction/maintenance, human resources, procurement, reporting, curriculum, graduation, and student-related areas including curriculum, graduation and health. Staff will continue to monitor proposed legislation, during the 90-day Maryland General Assembly session.


Montgomery County Board of Education: Ms. Shirley Brandman, president; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Phil Kauffman, Ms. Nancy Navarro, and Ms. Quratul-Ann Malik, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected county-wide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.

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